Bungie's Destiny has certainly split critical opinion over the past week, but for the segments of players who have taken to the game, it's proving to be a rather engrossing experience.
The end goal for players at the moment is to journey through the ultra-difficult Vault of Glass, an experience that's been compared to raids from MMO games. Released this morning, it's recommended that players reach level 26 before they even consider setting foot in the Vault — and to do that, you'll need to make the most of end-game currencies to get your hands on some high-level gear and continue llevelingpast level 20.
When you reach the soft cap of level 20, the experience that you earn won't go towards increasing your level. Instead, you'll continue progressing by raising your Light number, which is calculated based on the individual Light scores of your various pieces of armor. So, rather than killing enemies to gain levels, you'll want to focus on finding new rare, legendary and exotic armor and upgrading it to increase your Light.
Since your Light is directly linked to the armor you have equipped, your level can fluctuate depending on what your character is wearing. This is worth keeping in mind if you're faced with a difficult decision between two pieces of kit; the extra level you gain from a high Light score could be vital.
The armor that you'll be needing has a chance of dropping while you're on a mission, or being given to you as a post match reward, but if you want to eliminate the random chance that comes with both of these methods, you'll probably want to buy your hard-to-find Legendary gear from a vendor at the Tower. For that, you'll need to use some end-game currency; Strange Coins, Motes of Light and Marks.
Strange Coins are used to barter with the mysterious Xûr, a merchant who visits the Tower each weekend for a limited time. This past weekend marked his first appearance, which spanned from Friday morning to Sunday morning for players on the East Coast. You'll have a slim chance to gain Strange Coins the same way you would any other item, but the most reliable way is to complete a weekly Heroic Strike, which will net you three Strange Coins on its standard difficulty and three more for each level of difficult on top of that.
Some of Xûr's stock can also be purchased with Motes of Light, which can be earned via the experience that you accrue post-level 20 as well as via engrams, post-match awards and loot chests. Motes of Light are also accepted by The Speaker for his stock of Legendary items - mainly cosmetic wear for each class (i.e. colorful cloaks for Hunters).
Finally there are Marks, a two-prong currency system split into Vanguard Marks and Crucible Marks. You'll have access to both once you reach level 18, and you'll be able to earn them by completing Vanguard bounties and some Strikes, and Crucible matches respectively. You'll be able to earn a total of 100 of each variety of Marks each week.
These Marks can then be used to buy items from various different merchants around the Tower — but you might well need to raise your Vanguard Rank, your Crucible Rank or your Rank with each of the three factions you can link up with. It's well worth seeing which vendors have items that complement the character you're building and focusing on what you need to do to gain access to their most powerful wares.
There are so many different avenues to pursue after you reach level 20 in Destiny that it can be quite overwhelming, but really your own character is key. Deciding what sort of gear you prefer using — and whether you'll be spending more time in the Crucible or doing story missions and Strikes — is the best way to inform which currency you concentrate on gathering. From there on out, you're looking at the long road to the Vault of Glass; and for that, you'll need all the help that you can get.
Read our first impressions of Destiny to see how the game is shaping up!